Alfred Atheling, son of King Ethelred II, had been living in Normandy during the Danish invasion of Saxon England. After Canute died, in around 1040, he returned to England where he was met and entertained in Guildford by the Earl Godwine who handed him to Harold Harefoot's men who blinded and mutilated him, so that he died not long afterward.
There is a 12th century Norman castle, which was built as an overnight resting place as the southernmost point of the Windsor hunting park. It was visited on several occasions by King John and King Henry III. Today only the keep remains and the rest of the grounds are a pleasant public garden.
On October 5, 1974, bombs planted by IRA terrorists went off in two Guildford pubs, killing five. The subsequently arrested suspects, to become known as the Guildford Four, were convicted and sentenced to prison. They were released in 1989 when it was made clear that the conviction had been based on false evidence, so the four were in fact innocent.
Statue of Archbishop George Abbot in Guildford High St
In 2002, Guildford's application to be granted the status of a city was unsuccessful, losing out to Preston, the only English town being formally recognised as a city as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The dialling code is 01483.
For leisure: Guildford has the Spectrum Leisure Centre which is a national prizewinning sports centre (pools, ice rink, bowls, athletics track as well as general halls); The Civic Hall, a council run auditorium used amongst other things for concerts (pop, classical and comedy); The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre which often previews West End shows etc.